4 lessons from the telecom industry


4 lessons learned from digital transformation in the telecom industry - ServiceNow Blog

The pandemic has accelerated innovation as more companies scramble to be future-ready, flexible, and adaptable. Having quickly responded to a crisis and executed a planned digital transformation at UK telecommunications giant BT, I want to share lessons we learned to help other companies transition smoothly to a more digital future.

Customers at the core

The telecom industry has been changing rapidly over the past few years. The lines between work and play are becoming increasingly blurred. In return for being always on, employees expect consumer-like experiences and the latest devices.

In need of flexible and seamless technology, businesses are turning to the cloud, and connectivity is more important than ever. To address the needs of the next generation of customers, we continuously improve our capabilities and develop new services.

When we decided to transform our service for global multinational customers, we knew we couldn’t do it alone. We have 90% of our customer base in common with ServiceNow, so it seemed logical to jointly design a solution that would disrupt the telecom market, giving customers more control over their own environments, better visibility, and huge efficiency gains.

Ripping up the rulebook

To create a totally new service offering, we needed a completely new approach. We launched a greenfield project and built a cloud-native reference architecture using microservices and open APIs that are widely used in the industry.

The partnership with ServiceNow meant we had the skills, expertise, and scale to really take our services to the next level and deliver something groundbreaking to our customers. At every step we focused on outcomes, not processes. Here are four lessons we learned along the way:

1. Be proactive, not reactive

There are often signs of a disruptive shift in the market before it actually happens. Obviously, no one could have predicted the scale and impact of COVID-19, but enabling employee mobility is old news.

2. Think long term

Bold, purpose-driven ideas lead to real change. Don’t make decisions just to cut costs or boost efficiency. Think instead how the change will affect your people and your customers.

A good way to streamline change management is to get buy-in from the top—the very top. A passionate C-level executive will have a lot of influence over the rest of your employees. Then, take a step down and get a senior decision-maker to help set common, achievable goals. This will give your project the clarity to keep it on track.

“Fail fast, learn fast” is a good approach to get things done quickly, and proofs of concept are a brilliant way to experiment and learn. A lot of people think it’s wasted time, but you’ll make that time up and learn lessons to help your transformation go smoother.

3. Empower your employees

The culture and people, not the technology, make up the business. Happy and fulfilled employees are more productive, more receptive to change, and much more likely to delight your customers. Help employees accept change by gradually introducing new processes and platforms. Let them know what’s coming and provide training to help build confidence.

4. Don’t neglect your partners and vendors

If you can take your partners and vendors with you on your digital transformation, you’ll see better outcomes for everybody. At the very least, keep partners and vendors informed.

Telecommunications is a fast-moving and highly competitive industry. Always remember people drive that movement. Understanding their wants and needs will help you wow them and guide them through the challenges of tomorrow.

Ready to drive your digital transformation and business value? Learn how ServiceNow can help.

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